On Friday April 22, 2011 NCOHA Minor Bantam Predator, and Bracebridge native, Sean Ross will be taking the day off school. In fact, he and his Dad, Jamie will be taking several days off school to participate in a well-earned hockey vacation. His achievement is an example of what a young, aspiring hockey player can accomplish if he is always prepared to do his best.
In October 2010, as 12-year-old Sean prepared for an early season game in Markham, a scout from Pro Hockey Development attended the rink unannounced to observe two players from the opponent Markham. At the end of the game (a Predator victory), the scout approached me and expressed interest in some of our players. I was not surprised. There were several players on our team that put forth an excellent effort consistently and go the extra mile on and off the ice. As a coach, I am proud of them all. But this broadcast is in recognition of Sean’s accomplishment and an attempt to all young players what they can achieve by always doing their best and “bringing it” to every game situation.
Sean is a boy who takes his hockey seriously, and endeavours to do his best on every occasion! He is always on time, well-prepared, and respectful of his coaches. In his quiet way, he exudes leadership and demands accountability from himself and his team-mates. Further, he pursues every opportunity to improve himself as a hockey player — participating in several hockey schools and engaging in weekly work-outs with Next Level Sports. Although he had no idea the scout was present, Sean gave it his all on that October afternoon. He played strong defensively, ensuring that he got the puck out of his end, he finished his checks and skated hard in both directions. And yes, he made the score sheet. Driving wide and hard, Sean scored two goals and got an assist. As his coach, I could comment on several hockey qualities that Sean possesses that make him the player he is, but instead I will provide two examples that typify his attitude: in February 2010, Sean had an opportunity to attend the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and attend several hockey games involving Team Canada (a boy’s dream) but he chose to stay in Bracebridge to play two hockey games for the Preds because he knew his team needed him. His sisters went without him and they got Team Canada shirts signed by the team. Secondly, in February 2011, Sean cut inside an opposing D at high speed in the neutral zone (a move we have tried to discourage) and was the recipient of a nasty knee in the thigh which received a major penalty. Sean tried numerous times to get up before the trainer arrived and forced him to stay down. He was calm when he was carried off and angry that he couldn’t keep playing. While his leg became swollen and he was carried out of the arena, he apologized for missing the remainder of the game and said he would be back for the next game — and he was.
Lots of other players played well in that game in Markham, and others. We have no superstars on our team and hockey is always a collective effort. Those goals would not have been scored without finished checks and great outlet passes by his team-mates. But Sean showed something extra and made people notice. In early April 2011, he took the next step and attended the try-out for the Pro Hockey team in Toronto and his selection was finalized. As a result, on Friday morning April 22, he will be flying to Frankfurt, Germany, and then on to Helsinki, Finland, to begin his first European hockey tour, which will incorporate over a week of hockey in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
As a coach and an Executive for the NCOHA Predators, I am proud of all of our players and I hope that this broadcast serves two purposes: first, to congratulate Sean on his accomplishment on behalf of his team members, his coaches, and the organization; and, second, to inspire young NCOHA Predators to always do their best in every game and in every shift and in every battle. I hope to write a similar article about other achievements in the near future. You never know who is watching and you may only have one chance to make an impression.
Congrats Sean — go get ’em.
Minor Bantam Coach